As a nation of pet lovers, it's hardly surprising that more people in the UK have pet insurance than anywhere else in the world. But when times are tough, pet insurance can seem pricey, so here are my top tips for keeping the cost down and choosing the purrfect policy for your moggy or pampered pooch.
1. Fetch!Get online and run a series of quotes to find the best price for your pet. Whether it's dog insurance, cat insurance or even rabbit insurance you need, it pays to shop around. Comparison sites like Moneysupermarket.com and Confused.com are good starting points, then check out those companies that aren't included too. Tesco Bank, Sainsbury's Finance, PetPlan, Kennell Club, Argos, MORE TH>N, E&L, Pet-Insurance.co.uk and Saga are among the main insurers. Animal Friends Insurance is worth a special mention too as it donates a large part of its profits to animal welfare charities.
2. Paws for thoughtSome policies come with unnecessary frills, so focus on what's important. Typical policies will cover you for:
Vet fees if your pet is ill or has an accidentBoarding fees if your pet has to stay in careThe cost of cancelling a holiday because your pet is illFinancial compensation if your pet is stolen/strayedMoney towards advertising/reward for finding your petAccidental damage to property by your petThird party liabilityDeath benefit if your pet dies
3. Catch the furballsA common exclusion is medical conditions which occur before the policy started. Most policies also put limits on how much they pay out each year or limit how much they will pay for each condition. The lower the limits, the cheaper the policy should be.
One of the main decisions you have to make is whether you want a policy that will continue to pay for an illness on an ongoing basis (a so-called "lifetime policy") or will only cover your pet for the first 12 months of the illness. The 12 month policy will be considerably cheaper, but could leave you in a difficult situation if your pet develops a chronic condition and that's something you have to weigh up.
Many policies will stop insuring your pet when it reaches a certain age, as young as 8 for some pedigree dogs insurance policies. So check that out up front and make sure you choose the right policy from the outset.
4. Share a basketIf you have more than one pet, see if you can cover them on the same policy. You might get a discount and it makes it easier when it comes to renewals or if you have to make multiple claims.
5. Find puppy loveIt is far cheaper to buy insurance when your pet is young. Make sure it has all of its injections etc as this keeps the cost down.
6. Pounce!Look out for policies that allow you to spread the cost over 12 months with no interest charged.
Furthermore, if you already have it, simply renewing your pet insurance based upon your existing provider's quote is unlikely to get you the best deal. Either way, you must shop around. Why not check out the comparison site Beat that Quote to ensure you are not paying more than you actually need to.
These saving tips should help make sure you don't end up paying a pedigree price tag for your pet insurance when there's no need to do so. Just check out what's on offer for the best deal.